There are a slew of articles dealing with a study revealing a big increase in shipping & shipping routes by 2050. The impact for Canada, as noted in the National Post, is the Parry Channel becoming the main shipping lane. The co-author had written in a 200 book that Canada would be a major world power thanks to climate change; his latest study might bolster that point.
Some of the barriers to travelling through is the Arctic are the extra costs in ice-strengthening ships, free ice floating on the water & more storms along the Arctic coasts. Not to mention that Canada will spend 280 million US$ on the design of new Arctic offshore patrol ships.
The federal government is opening up bids to start oil & gas activities in Nunavut’s high Arctic. It adds that the area has a lot of opportunities with an estimated 14 trillion cubic feet of gas and 300 million barrels of oil.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that Shell has ‘paused’ drilling in the Arctic & that there’s a federal inquiry into its drilling activities in the US. Canada should take a more circumspect attitude to Arctic exploration.
The polar bear ban was defeated at CITES in Bangkok; the Canadian government & the Inuit people were against the ban.
In other news, a study suggests that the Canadian Arctic Archipelago could lose up to a fifth of its volume if global warming keeps up as predicted. A major problem is the lack of mapping of the region, which the rapid changes make even harder to track.
A lot of talk is taking place at the CITES meeting in Bangkok concerning a possible ban of international trade of polar bears. Canada, as the only country to deal polar bear parts on the international market, seems to be isolated. Russia & the US support the ban for different reasons
On the other hand, some groups oppose the ban because they doubt the conservation benefits. For Inuit there’s also an important economic component supported by the Nunavut. Question is, are the different governments using the polar bears are trade leverage?
It seems that despite stressing the importance of asserting Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic by building new ships to patrol the Arctic & budgeting over Can$3-billion for it, the Harper government will have to delay the building of said vessels & some wags even doubt the controversial project will see the light of day. Now, it may or may not make sense for Canada to spend that much money in order to patrol such a vast extent & the government might be spending more wisely by investing in icebreakers while making sure Canadian commercial ships have free & safe passage. Sometimes we have to leave ideology behind & be realistic.